Help in the form of at least US$25bn in government-backed loans may be on its way to US automakers.

House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Reuters politicians are discussing the loans to help retool plants to make more efficient cars and trucks.

But he could not say if the matter would come to a vote before the house takes a break at the end of this month - possibly for the remainder of this predidential election year.

According to the report, Congress must approve roughly US$3.8bn in new spending to cover default risk while Hoyer suggested the matter might be suited for a second economic stimulus package, which some Democrats are urging Congress to undertake.

But the Detroit Big Three would like access to the credit as soon as possible and want a total of $50bn though Hoyer said a final figure was "still up in the air."

The automakers are stepping up their lobbying on the issue.